California’s warm in my heart,
Golden like the poppies of last spring,
Flooding the hills of my memory.
I’m sighing my goodbye,
And although I say it not reluctantly,
And although leaving’s always been on my mind –
Your dry crackling hills with their rare and precious blooms,
Your curving beaches and missions,
Your shores dotted with brush-stroked sage upon the cliffs,
Your smiling orange trees with a scent fading into history –
Will occupy my heart.
And those suburbs that stifle rather than flatter
With their indifference,
I’ll even miss them too.
Georgia is poking at me,
Whispering in my ear it’s time to go,
And gladly I’ll pack my bags,
Heading for the land the pioneers left behind.
But this land that they came to,
I won’t be able to wipe its name off my heart.
This place with its ambiguous history
I’m leaving for one with a more established past,
A reverse of history,
A pursuit of gold in someplace so old and yet so new.
Georgia, I cannot yet call you mine.
California your shore has worn itself into my heart,
Your stretching, muted mustard hills,
Your missions and Manifest Destiny that I regard with awe
Yet not approval,
Your movie-houses and museums,
Your abandoned mines and towns born in the age of gold –
(I hope my heart will not become as these) –
Your ocean that I wish I’d dipped my feet in more,
Your beach towns and forgotten mountains,
Your Sierra Nevadas that hold onto me in a way I can’t explain –
(There’s something like eternity about them) –
You shaped me,
I cannot erase you,
But I cannot stay,
So with a smile –
Somewhat wistful but never mournful
(You’re still mine) –
I’m eastbound and away.